SOUTH BEND — Roselily “wants to have something for everyone.”
Beyond the yellow brick at 701 S. Main St., just at the edge of South Bend’s downtown, awaits one of the city’s evolving vegan menus, prepared by Roselily Owner/Executive Chef Eamonn McParland and staff.
“The whole genesis of the vegetarian and vegan menu is I consider myself to be a hospitable person,” McParland recently said by phone.
“I’m all about making people feel welcome and I never want someone to walk into the restaurant and feel guilty, like, ‘Oh, do you have any vegetarian or vegan options?’ and for them to feel like they’re a burden on the restaurant.
“In lieu of that, I’d rather use the resources I have to try to put together a vegetarian and vegan menu. So they can come in, ‘Oh, they already have a menu. They’re ready for me.’ There’s no special request happening.”
The chef is clear: Roselily is neither a vegan- nor vegetarian-focused operation.
“We’re just very accommodating to vegetarians and vegans,” he said, before humbly adding, “I feel guilty taking the spotlight off a restaurant that focuses on that kind of stuff.”
What's on the Menu?
Roselily — its name a portmanteau of McParland and wife Sandra’s twin daughters’ names Liliana and Mariana Rose — opened for dinner service in June 2022 at its new location. A larger setting than the its former Lafayette Street home, the restaurant’s capacity has grown to 50 seats in the dining room and eight seats at the bar.
With almost 25 years of experience, a small team with high standards and a diverse palate, McParland wanted to do something different but familiar. Simple and approachable, without being boring or stuffy. The classics, remastered.
It’s not uncommon for McParland to devise a new menu monthly, sometimes weekly, allowing for creativity in the kitchen when the mood strikes.
Recent vegan offerings include tofu with gochujang, choy, snap pea, snow pea, sesame and miso ($18) alongside cauliflower with berbere, green lentil, carrots and cipollini ($20).
“I gotta be honest, I don’t understand why more restaurants don’t do what I do,” he said, declaring regional vegans and vegetarians “underserved.”
“I’m not overly prepping additional food for a vegetarian and vegan menu; I’m able to use certain setups from my regular menu to use on the vegetarian and vegan menu.”
Adaptability is at the heart of most Roselily vegan options, as they’re derived from slightly modified vegetarian dishes.
Lately, such menu items have included: mushroom pate with spring onion jam, toast ($11); tatsoi with soba noodle, pickled shiitake, peanuts, five-minute egg, radish, ponzu ($11); white gazpacho with grapes, pecans, chevre, cucumber, oxalis and sourdough ($8); and fried artichoke with gold potatoes, summer squash, leeks, garlic scape, piquillo pepper ($18).
“I had on the menu for a long time — I recently took it off — but I had a rotating vegan cheesecake … that was gluten-free,” McParland said.
“Desserts are always so cream- and butter-heavy and have eggs … so vegan and gluten-free people were always so satisfied they could have a delicious dessert that they were able to eat. I might bring it back, to be honest.”
For groups up to eight people, Roselily offers a seven-course, vegan chef’s tasting experience, which can be tailored for allergies.
Simply select the chef’s tasting option when submitting a reservation through Roselily’s online Tok platform. A follow-up email will request any dietary restrictions, which is the time for diners to make their designations.
In the event all diners do not subscribe to the same diet, Roselily staff can accommodate, preferably with advance notice so alterations can be made.
“Our philosophy on the tasting menu is if there two people doing the chef’s tasting, and one person is vegan and the other is not even vegetarian … we want to keep the food similar, so they can connect with each other, as far as certain components and sauces,” McParland explained.
“They’re having a shared experience and not feeling like they’re having two separate dinners.”
Connection and accommodation — something for everyone.